The mission of Sprouts, a nonprofit organization, is to provide underserved school age children with nutritional and physical education programs. The goal of the organization is to prevent childhood obesity and to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Over the past two years we have focused on developing a curriculum for utilization in elementary school aged children (a volunteer city school) focused on nutrition and exercise. Our results over these two years are consistently the same--dramatic improvements were seen at the end of each year in the students' knowledge about food and exercise. We are thrilled with our results.
Before our classes started, children tended to know that water is good for you, french fries and fried chicken are not, and that exercise is also good for you (>50%). However only 23-42% knew the five food groups, less than 29-40% knew food that contained protein, less than 28-46% knew food sources of calcium, 0% knew how many calories they should eat, and majority did not know what exercises to do for what muscle groups.
After our program 93-100% of children knew the five food groups, 75-78% knew sources of protein, 60-91% knew sources of calcium, 77% knew the amount of calories they should eat, and most of the children could give examples of exercises for certain muscles. WOW! Due to the nature of the population these results ended up occurring without much parental involvement which is even more impressive. In addition, this was an environment where the children would typically be considered as disadvantaged in regards to social support structures, economic, etc.
We feel that our program is very effective in this age group and we are currently working to continue to optimize our program as we learn different techniques/course length each year on how to impact this population.
We currently plan on doing a Spring program in the county to continue to improve and assess the validity of our program in a different population. If there are schools or organizations that are interested in our program please contact us. We are developing mini-modules and can offer a variety of customized instructions. Depending on the situation, fees may need to be charged to offset costs by the charity.
Our goal is to help teach children about nutrition and exercise with the hope that healthy living started early will decrease and prevent the incidence of chronic diseases, including obesity; and as they become adults this healthy living will result in a subsequent decrease in morbidity/mortality and health care costs to society.
Our current scope is small, but we feel every child counts... One child at a time!